Governments Most Generous in Benefits Packages

August 29, 2005 ( - If you are looking for the most generous employee benefit package, you had better start with the government, education, and nonprofit sectors, a new study found.

A news release from Mercer Human Resource Consulting said that in terms of overall benefits provided to employees, including health care coverage and retirement benefits, government employers offer the highest level of total benefits at 126% of the market median.

Meanwhile, educational employers offered 118% of the median and large nonprofit organizations (including civic and professional associations, religious organizations, national charitable organizations, and major foundations) offered 115% of the market median. In other words, benefit levels at organizations in these industries are 26%, 18%, and 15% higher, respectively, than the median benefit levels of employers across all industries.

For-profit industries providing high levels of benefits were:

  • utilities (112% of market median)
  • mining (111%)
  • pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing (110%).

In contrast, industries offering the lowest overall benefit levels are:

  • accommodation and food services (70%)
  • wholesale (72%)
  • retail (73%).

The report also analyzes benefit levels by three benefit categories: health/group benefits, retirement/savings benefits, and time loss benefits. The same industries generally rank high and low in these individual benefit categories, as well, Mercer HR found.

Mercer’s report also identifies variations in benefit levels by geographic region. Although these patterns have shifted slightly in recent years, Northeastern US employers still offer the highest benefit levels overall, despite slipping from 111% to 108% of market median over the last four years. Employers in the North Central and Southeast regions have experienced a similar drop.

At the same time, employers in the West Coast states, which offer the second highest level of benefits overall, have seen their numbers climb during this time period, from 90% to 102% of market median since 2001. Employers in the South Central region also have seen a jump (from 92% to 96%).

The report can be purchased online by visiting or by calling 800 333 3070. The cost of obtaining the full study for non-participants is $450. For more information, visit . A free registration is required.